I recently ordered a MXChip Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit to have a play with.
It looks like this when it arrives:
The MXChip Dev Kit is an awesome solution designed for prototyping IoT and cloud-based solutions and comes with a heap of functionality and sensors including:
- Temperature sensor
- Humidity sensor
- Motion sensor
- Programmable buttons
- Security encryption chip
Lots of goodies to play with without having to order and setup more components and sensors!
Setup couldn’t be easier and within about 10 minutes I had my dev kit sending data to Azure IoT hub (setup would have been even shorter had I typed in the WiFi password correctly – duh!).
Setup was basically:
- Create an Azure IoT hub in the Azure portal
- Plug in the dev kit via USB
- Download the latest firmware and copy it onto device like you were copying to a USB stick
- Connect to the MXChips WiFi access point
- Browse to a setup web page page, enter WiFi and IoT hub connection details
- You are good to go and the device will then send temperature info to Azure IoT hub
So how do you create your own applications?
The kit is Arduino compatible and Microsoft has developed a heap of extensions, samples and tutorials for Visual Studio Code aimed at making it easy to develop, debug and deploy your own applications.
Setup was mostly painless although one of the extensions had some trouble installing and I couldn’t get the debug stuff that would allow me to see what the device was sending. I think this may be some USB driver issue and will require further fiddling..
One of the extensions gives you access to several tutorial projects and samples making it easy to explore the devices capabilities further.
I haven’t touched C++ for many years but the sample code was very readable and could easily be tweaked for your own projects.
Overall whilst the MXChip dev board is more expensive than some other options I was really impressed by all the functionality contained on the board, tutorial and sample support and ease of setup with Azure IoT hub.
If you want your own kit I purchased mine for about $90 AUD (American readers will find this considerably cheaper) from Core Electronics (https://core-electronics.com.au/mxchip-microsoft-azure-iot-developer-kit-pre-order.html).